Have you ever received a call from an official-sounding person who informs you that they're collecting donations for a New Jersey-based police organization?

It usually begins with a story about a cop injured or killed in the line of duty, and then they tell you how the money collected, will be used to help those officers and their families.

The call then usually turns to the amount of the "suggested" donation.  The first amount, or what they refer to as "platinum" may be a hundred bucks. Then they have a lower amount they refer to as "gold" and finally an even lower amount they call "silver."

They then inform you that you'll be sent a special sticker for you to "proudly" put in your window to show that you support law enforcement.

Who doesn't want to help our men and women who work hard to protect us?

The problem is that it's a scam.  And many people fall for it.

The scam is the subject of a recent documentary on Max (HBO).  The documentary tells the story of NJ-based Civic Development Goup (CDG) a company that hired junkies, ex-cons and other shady characters to solicit "donations" to various groups that include police unions, fire department unions and more.

The only problem is that 90% of the money collected was kept by CDG while less then 10% made it to the organization.

The documentary was produced by two former employees of CDG, and it uncovered deeply disturbing information about the relationship between CDG and some of the organizations they collect for.

While the FTC has shut down CDG, new companies have stepped in to fill the void.

The suggestion here is, don't ever contribute to an organization that solicits over the phone.  Find a local organization with local roots.

Another suggestion is to check out the organization, using charitynavigator.org.  Using this web site, you'll be able to check on any charitable organization and see exactly what percentage of donations actually go to those in need.

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Gallery Credit: Eddie Davis

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